If you ask me for one skill that isn’t taught in school that I think everyone should learn, I would say networking, hands down. I have met so many awesome people just by engaging them and have had many doors open for me because of connections I have made. I have learned that in politics, and in the Jewish community, networking is especially important My time at CJPAC has reinforced the conventional wisdom that ‘relationships matter’ and how forming lasting relationships with all political parties is important for the Jewish people.
One of the things I have learned about forming relationships is that making connections with people doesn’t happen nine-to-five. As a representative of the Jewish community on my campus I need to be perpetually friendly and approachable, because I never know when I am being watched. I am careful to be polite and respectful with my professors and with my classmates, because I will never know what door will open up for me because of my relationships. I have found taking the time to recognize people for who they are instead of what they can offer me puts people at ease and helps me build lifelong connections. This is something that my colleagues at CJPAC do very well, because everyone who works here cares about the connections they have with individual politicians, as well as the party and believe strongly that people are more than what they can do for you.
Professionalism is a skill that goes hand and hand with making connections. Because you don’t know who you are going to meet, I always try to make myself look presentable when I am going out in public. As I am a Hillel rep and an interfaith counselor at Guelph-Humber, I always have to be dressed modestly and professionally, because I never know when I am going to have to meet with students or staff. At CJPAC, relationships and professionalism are taken very seriously and I have learned a lot about relationships because of the way my colleagues handle themselves.
When I leave CJPAC, I know that the relationships I have developed this semester will last me a lifetime. I have learned so much from everyone and I have enjoyed every minute of my internship. It has been a great jumpstart for my future activity in politics and as a productive citizen of Canada.